Music as Sanctuary


Music defines me…

Music is my sanctuary. A good piece of music has the ability to describe me better than any words can. I don’t want to say that music keeps me “sane,” because in reality, what does sane even mean now? No one is completely sane, because then we would all be quite boring. What I will say is that music keeps me lucid. There is nothing that can transform my stress or horrible mood into such a state of placidity quite like music does.

It’s amazing the transformation my mood makes even when I’m doing something as minute as holding a cake of rosin. I become filled to the brim with exhilaration upon pulling my bow across the strings of my cello, the sound of it resonating through the air around me, wrapping me up in a blanket, comforting me, putting me in a cocoon and sheltering me, even if only for a little while. The vibrations of the strings are my best way of conveying my emotions without having to use any words. My music can say what I cannot.

Music is what defines me. It has so many variations and complexities that I find it a compliment to say that music is the best way to show people who I am. Because I have difficulty showing emotions at times, I take pride in my music and try to share it with others as much as possible. I write music to get my point across to other people when I don’t have words, because, as Stella Adler once said: “We are what we do, not what we say.”

Music is everything to me.



Music is my greatest teacher…

There’s that phrase, “Everything I ever needed to learn in life I learned from…,” and people fill in the name of a significant parent, relative or teacher. My version would go, “Everything I ever needed to learn in life I learned from The Beatles.”

I don’t have my music time and my non-music time. If I’m not listening to an album, there’s still a lyric, melody or rhythm swimming around in my head. If I’m not playing guitar, I’m still thinking up song ideas. While I enjoy the occassional silence, I will unconsciously put on an album, even at work in my career as a business magazine editor. This is not a sense I can turn off, just as it’s not something I’ve turned on.

I am not alone in this compulsion. For people like me, music is simply a part of our lifestyles. Perhaps this sounds extreme, even pathological to non-musicians and non-music lovers, but those who’ve been bitten by the bug understand: This is a part of us, no more bizarre or more unhealthy than eating and sleeping.

As such, music is also my all-encompassing philosophy and greatest teacher. Like many, I learned about love from The Beatles’ “Abbey Road”; irony from Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde”; heartbreak from Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”; healing from Van Morrison’s “Moondance”; passion from Derek and the Dominos’ “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs”; glory from Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run”; the spiritual experience from U2’s “The Joshua Tree”; and, more recently, the cycle of life from Wilco’s “Sky Blue Sky.”

There’s more music out there than I will ever be able to hear. Sometimes, I’m afraid that I’ll miss out on something great, but more often than not, I’m thankful that I’ve connected with this precious aspect of our word.



Music helps you define yourself…

Music is both an intake and outlet of emotions. It has allowed me to convey a message when words weren’t enough to help someone understand. When you let it fill you, the sound heightens all your senses, not just hearing, and lets the imagination take hold of you. I believe that it is a connecting point between this life and divinity.

Music can define a person’s life and personality when you find the sort of music you are good at. It helps you find a core to yourself; a foundation that you can build your character on and around.


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